Twelve years after Romeo+Juliet, based on Shakespeare’s tragedy, Baz Lurhmann set out to adapt the famous novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald in an attempt to reveal its unspoken side.
Three film versions of The Great Gatsbyhave been made since the novel, considered a major work of American contemporary literature, was first published in 1925. The last cinematic version of Fitzgerald’s book, in which Mia Farrow starred opposite Robert Redford, appeared in 1974. Nearly forty years later, Baz Lurhmann has taken up the challenge of telling the story in pictures of Jay Gatsby, the charming and mysterious 1920s New York millionaire, here played by Leonardo Di Caprio.
The director of Moulin Rouge, presented In Competition in 2001, focused on the shadowy areas of Fitzgerald’s narrative in order to try to reveal its secrets on screen and thus create a distinctive work. In order to shine a light on what the author leaves in suspense, Luhrmann has drawn on his private life, in particular his love letters and the biography of his wife, Zelda. Thus at one point Daisy, played by Carrey Mulligan, replies to a question using words from a letter sent by Fitzgerald to his first great love. When his meticulous research work failed to unearth an explanation for one of the work’s more obscure points, Luhrmann turned to his own intuition.
Using an anachronistic soundtrack featuring artists such as Lana Del Rey and Beyoncé, the setting of The GreatGatsby, entirely shot in 3D, features a number of sequences with a distinctly theatrical quality. The quality of the actors, including Tobey Maguire in the role of narrator Nick Carraway, but also the scenery and costumes, never less than grandiose in the work of Luhrmann, accentuate this element, reminding us that Luhrmann himself trod the boards before turning to filmmaking.
Wednesday 15 May / Grand Théâtre Lumière / 8.00 p.m.– 11.30 p.m.